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Wild sturgeon nears extinction

17 September 2014
The wild Chinese sturgeon is at risk of extinction, reported Xinhua, after none of the rare fish were detected reproducing naturally in the Yangtze River last year.

The wild Chinese sturgeon is thought to have existed for more than 140m years but its numbers have slumped as a result of pollution, new dams and increased levels of shipping.

For the first time since researchers began keeping records 32 years ago, there was no natural reproduction of wild Chinese sturgeon in 2013, according to a report published by the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences.

No eggs were found to have been laid by wild sturgeons in an area in Hubei province, and no young sturgeons were found swimming along the Yangtze toward the sea in August, the month when they normally do so.

“No natural reproduction means that the sturgeons would not expand its population and without protection, they might risk extinction,” said Wei Qiwei, an investigator with the academy.

The fish is classed as “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, just one level ahead of “extinct in the wild”.

Only around 100 of the sturgeon remain, Wei said, compared with several thousand in the 1980s.

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